For the better part of a 30+ year musical career, he has been known as one half of the mystifying group Dead Can Dance, known for masterfully arranging unique soundscapes from blending numerous musical genres and movements (Chant, Irish folk, African poly rhythms, Medieval, Renaissance, Middle Eastern and Punk, to name a few). Co-led by his distinctive style of chant singing, Perry provided a powerful presence with a radiant counterbalance to partner Lisa Gerrard’s booming mystical voice, helping to guide the listener through beautiful poetic verses entwined within world influences. But the world of musical wonders was not to last forever, as DCD decided to call it quits not long after the release of their final album in 1996. Fortunately this would not be the last we would hear from the cathedral voiced musician, as he chose to continue with the release of his debut solo effort Eye of the Hunter (1999).
For fans, one of the biggest issues when a hugely influential group breaks up is whether any solo career is worth following. Will the solo efforts be any good? Will the new works be a stretching of their musical abilities or will they simply rehash their previous groups for years to come? Most thankfully, Eye of the Hunter turns out to be a finely executed debut, managing to explore new musical ground and allowing Perry to vocally stretch his wings, successfully avoiding a complete rehash of DCD. It is a beautifully ethereal, folk inspired experience featuring acoustic based arrangements, orchestral electronics and sparse instrumentation. The tracks seamlessly shift between hopeful and melancholy with each passing track without ever becoming a cheap copy of DCD. As the capacity to grow as a new solo artist continues after a long period of inactivity, he finally returned with his most recent release Ark (2010). Featuring predominantly electronic arrangements and lyrics which could only be described as inward gazing outward, he manages to flesh out a more haunting, yet strangely uplifting sound without falling victim to the ever clichéd Emo-misery and gloom. When it comes to finding beauty within the empty or experiencing the gloom without the doom, Brendan Perry is definitely an artist that you can count on to deliver, regardless of what incarnation he exists in.
With only 2 albums having been released since 1999, the best way to truly experience solo Brendan Perry is to get a hold of both Eye of the Hunter and Ark. Get to it!
Six Ways To Experience Brendan Perry
6. “Inferno” – from the album Ark – An intense and otherworldly song which cries of longing.
5. “Severance” – from the album The Serpent’s Egg by Dead Can Dance,
4. “The Trial”- from the album Dead Can Dance by Dead Can Dance – A fast paced world music tinged almost punk song that gives glimpses of Perry’s roots in the Punk scene of Australia.
3. “Anywhere Out of the World” – from the album Within the Realm of a Dying Sun by Dead Can Dance – Music for the world-weary romantic dreamer.
2. “Medusa” – from the album Eye of the Hunter – A dreamy Waltz through the tale of seductress.
1. “Utopia” – from the album Ark – A glimmer of hope from someone who has been overwhelmed by all the hardships of life, and is still standing.